In 1991 a friend and I ,without children, went to see this Disney animated fairy tale; twenty years later my experience and emotional reaction is even more profound. This captivating, irresistible story seeks to elucidate beyond the epidermis; unpeel the obvious, unearth the “beauty” beneath the “beast” and the “beast’ beneath the “beauty” (“Gaston”).
Walt Disney (1901-1966) was a visionary and saw the world through rose- hued lens; he envisioned a utopia, Epcot Center (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) in Florida, where like the weather, perfection would reign; today, just a splendid sampling of Disney’s dream; a flavor of eleven countries; transportation of the future. Walt Disney and Buckminster Fuller, twentieth century icons, denied boundaries or parameters when constructing their fantasies, illusions. They dwell in the celestial, rarefied realm of Galileo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison.
Now in 3-D the audience is propelled through threatening forests, Gaston’s steroid- enhanced showmanship, vertigo- inducing staircases, swirling romantically around a naked ballroom, as Belle (an insatiable book worm) and the Beast ( a curmudgeon longing for love) waltz to the glorious, unforgettable, melodious “Beauty and the Beast”; eyes tearing, flesh prickling, loving every regaling second.
Oftentimes we see couples, totally mismatched physiognomy, and question their togetherness and devotion; “Beauty and the Beast” erases those questions; like Belle and the Beast they sought with their minds and hearts, listen and love with an intensity lasting far beyond ephemeral physical enchantments. Herein lies the crux of a genuinely “happily ever after”.